You read the nutritional label on the foods you send them to school with so why not read the label on the school you are sending them to. Deciding where to live is a huge decision and once you find the area that you want to start your family deciding on the right school for your child is the next most important decision. The school that you choose for your children is an investment in their future. This is where they will learn academic and life skills that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Too often parents feel ill equipped making this decisions, so here are a few strategies for making an informed choice when picking the right school for your child.
Search the internet for information.
If you are reading this you have the resources of the internet at your finger tips so use them. Google the school name and check out what comes up. Obviously you’ll need to source check the information that you are reading to ensure that they are in fact credible authorities on the topic, but now a days virtually everything, good or bad, is on the internet. Many school resource sites have valuable information about class sizes, average standardized test scores and graduation rates. Searching local real estate sites will also give you an idea about family demographics in the area.
Check social media.
A lot of schools now have social media accounts that they use to keep students and parents up to date on news, events and school spirit. Here you can get a candid look at how the school conducts themselves in the public eye while gauging the culture and involvement of the community. This is also a place that parents can voice questions and concerns that they may have about issues at the school.
Do an in person visit.
Make an appointment at the school so that you can meet in person with the school’s leadership and staff. Here you can ask some of the difficult questions that you may not have been able to find online. You will also be able to judge how students and teachers interact and see what kind of programs they have available (sports, arts, clubs, extra academic help). Here you will also be able to ask about what resources are available for your children. Bringing along your children can help make their transition into a new school easier. If they have recognize the school and see some familiar faces it will greatly reduce their anxiety on the first day.
Talk to parents in the area.
There is a PAC (Parent Advisory Committee) for British Columbia whose main goal is to provide a collective voice for parents in the province. By attending a meeting you will be able to meet other parents in the area and find out what their opinions are. Here you can also see how much funding a school is receiving and how they are spending it.
Each year the Fraser Institute puts out a report card of local schools that highlight the academic average scores of the standardized testing. Although this report card doesn’t have all the tangible parameters needed to make a complete decision it is a good place to start. There are endless resources available to help parents make informed decisions about their children’s academic and social futures and know that we all want the best for our kid use this guide as a framework for choosing the best school for your kid.